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Minister Kelly must accept NSW SMART drumlines offer

17 May 2018

Libby Mettam


Shadow Minister for Tourism Libby Mettam has called on the McGowan Government to “grab with both hands” an offer from the New South Wales Government to loan WA five SMART drumlines.

The offer to trial the SMART drumlines in WA waters followed a request from Ms Mettam and Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup to NSW Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair following two recent shark attacks in Margaret River.

“The McGowan Government has a golden opportunity to potentially save lives and begin to repair damage to the State’s tourism reputation and to not accept that offer would be political and petty in the extreme,” Ms Mettam said.

“Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly can no longer put this issue in the too-hard basket – the time for action is now. The minister can no longer sit on his hands saying a subsidy on a personal shark deterrent, that surfers say they cannot use, is enough to make people feel safe.

“Minister Kelly has hidden behind bogus claims that a SMART drum line trial in WA would cost $75 million, has pointed his finger at surfers saying they are responsible for their own safety, and has stood by while lives have been lost, people have been maimed and significant tourism events have been interrupted; enough is enough.

“Instead of continuing to talk down the merits of smart drumlines, the Government should take the opportunity to trial this technology here.”

Ms Mettam said the NSW Government had trialled around 25-35 on the North Coast in 2016-2017 at a cost around $1 million, including the cost of two contractors who attended the lines at five locations.

“For Mr Kelly to say deploying SMART drumlines in WA will cost $75 million is misleading and shows contempt for the safety of ocean users and the future of our tourism sector,” she said.

“Once a shark is caught on a SMART drum line, it is humanely tagged and released further out to sea, offering a valuable tool for researchers to monitor their behaviour.

“We’ve had five events, including the Margaret River Pro, cancelled or disrupted in the past 12 months due to sharks. We cannot afford to lose any more events waiting for something to be done.

“The NSW Government is taking every measure to address the issues of public safety and give confidence back to beachgoers – the WA Government must do the same.


- Libby Mettam MLA, Shadow Minister for Tourism